Thursday, June 30, 2011

Try it: Dermalogica Climate Control Balm


I love me a good old fashioned multi-tasker, they are clever as well as handbag and travel-friendly, and are great for those on a budget that don’t like to compromise when it comes to the beauty essentials.
The latest I’ve discovered is Dermalogica’s Climate Control Balm, which is essentially a therapeutic spot treatment balm that heals damaged and chapped skin. It’s been formulated with exclusive Anti-Ozonate Complex to help heal acutely damaged skin and provide a barrier against future climatic assaults, and is ideal for what the brand like to call “transitioning climates”, travel and sport. It can be applied pretty much anywhere you need it, anytime that you need it, and is an absolute saviour for the skin we neglect such as that on the elbows, feet and knees. It also makes for the perfect winter escape travel companion, be it for fighting chapped, wind burned skin in the snow or reducing in flight dryness when you’re off to sunnier shores. It blissfully contains no artificial fragrance or colour so is user friendly for even the most sensitized of skins, and is also available as a 4.5g lip treatment along with this handy, push-up tube (pictured). Add it to your skincare arsenal now.

Daily delight: BECCA wintery goodness

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why you need: ghd Rejuvenation Cream


We all mean well when it comes to our hair’s upkeep, and have all the good intentions in the world of applying regular treatments and laying off the hot tools when we can. It’s a bummer for us then that “real life” intervenes, making us as time poor as it gets for the former and absolute slaves to the latter if we want a little polish added to our day.
So it was with great fanfare that I greeted the arrival of ghd’s Rejuvenation Cream across my desk, complete with Halo Headwrap to keep things glamorous. Rejuvenation Cream is an intensely rich, restorative cream with free-radical scavenging anti-oxidants that moisturises and repairs the hair cuticle while you sleep. Yep, that’s right: while you sleep. Incredibly quick drying, throw it on fifteen minutes before your head hits the pillow and leave it to do its work, it’s that easy.
And the results are pretty damn impressive too. Hair which is exposed to pollution, sunlight, and the likes of colour application can be depleted of its natural oils and lipids, increasing the possibility of split ends, colour fade and porosity, and making the hair un-manageable, coarse and brittle. Free radicals can be caused by UV exposure, they are harmful to the hair, and these can be reduced by using products that contain anti-oxidants like this little tub of anti-aging love. Deeply moisturising, it also promotes shine and contains UV protection. Love that.
Just apply a generous amount to dry hair from roots to ends and massage in a little so as much is coated as possible. Leave for approximately 15 minutes before going to bed - preferably in ghd’s super cute microfibre Halo Headwrap – then lay your head down and let it do its work. Rinse shampoo and condition as normal in the morning and voila – super rejuvenated locks.

Daily delight: Imogen Poots for Interview

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Try: Max Factor Xperience Weightless Foundation


I’m always on the lookout for a great new “weekend” foundation, one that is barely there but ticks all of the boxes, and as I’ve got older a tinted moisturiser just doesn’t seem to cut it. I love the finish of a mineral foundation but the cooler months necessitate something richer, and I think I’ve found the solution in the form of Max Factor's latest offering; Xperience Weightless Foundation.
Offering to provide flawless coverage without blocking pores, this product does live up to the “weightless” claim in its moniker, and is a joy to use. The thick, almost gel like liquid blends seamlessly into a soft, powdery finish that sits comfortably on the skin and, as the name would suggest, is pretty much weightless when worn. On the dewy side when it comes to finish, it’s not for oily skin but is perfect for combination ladies or ageing skin like mine that needs a little extra love when the mercury drops.
In addition, Xperience Weightless Foundation features a re-designed shade palette ensuring women can achieve the closest match to their natural skin tone.
Launching in six shades the new colour palette has been meticulously modified following Max Factor global skin tone research. The foundation experts at Max Factor created the Reflectance Spectra – a measure of light reflecting across the skin – that
revealed more about women’s skin tones. Using this, combined with their understanding of women’s desired end look, Max Factor selected shades specifically matching women’s skin tones to better meet their tonal needs. Based on yellow tones rather than pink, the Xperience palette has optimized hue variations that closely represent women’s skin tones and neutralises redness.
Comfortable to wear, easy to apply, and damn right flawless to the eyes, this well-priced formula is also definitely a steal, making it one of the best foundations I’ve come across in a while.

Flirty & Fresh: Inika’s Peaches and Pink


I love it when a fresh spring makeup collection arrive across my desk on a particularly bleak winter’s day, it lifts the spirits and you can almost smell some exotic – not to mention warmer - locale drifting out as you open the box! The one that made my day today is by Inika, those masters of high pigment, long wearing, all natural makeup – usually an anomaly in the beauty business.
The new Limited Edition Peaches and Pink colour story is inspired by the “magical bloom and blossom of spring”, and was created to show off the vivid, enticing colours of the warmer months to come and represent the “freshness and playfulness” that comes with this new season. And fresh and playful indeed it is, as well as ridiculously flattering and super wearable for many skintones. The pretty colour story features Inika’s unique mineral blush in Peachy Keen to give a delicate glow, and a limited edition luscious and ultra-creamy crayon in Peach Blossom. The peach blossom shade has subtle gold flecks throughout, which is perfect for springtime lips as it warms up the complexion whilst staying neutral against your lip’s own tones. Apply the fresh looking blush using Inika’s beautiful vegan Blush Brush, which is perfect for contouring and handily comes in the box along with the collection. Super pretty, super easy and you're good to go! Spring - bring it on.
Available in store from September 1st 2011 from selected pharmacies and health food stores nationwide. For more information or to find your nearest stockist, go here.

Daily delight: Hailee Steinfeld for miu miu

Monday, June 27, 2011

Destination beauty: The Sanctuary Day Spa


One of the most fabulous places to stay in Auckland is Mollies Boutique Hotel in Herne Bay, and whenever I have friends coming from overseas that like things a little more on the luxe side I recommend it as a stellar place to lay your head.
I was lucky enough to spend a night at Mollies myself recently as part of their deliciously named Winter Spa Escape package*, and have to say that Auckland’s only Relais & Chateaux Hotel definitely did itself proud when it came to an amazing property, incredible food and exceptional service. New owners acquired Mollies early in 2011 and the winds of change have definitely swept through its elegant corridors, making for one very special place to stay.
Both the hotel and its day spa, Sanctuary have a new sparkle in their eye, and it’s brilliant to see the spa transformed into a serious player on the local landscape. From the minute you step into its otherwordly atmosphere you know you’re somewhere rather special, and on a cold Saturday afternoon it was the best place I could be. The Sanctuary Day Spa offers treatments like facials, hot stone massage, manicures, pedicures, scrubs, waxing, tandem treatments, make-up, tanning and more, but I was there for what was to be an incredible massage. My therapist Sharon Moriarty described it as a “ritual” treatment, and for a blissful two hours I experienced soothing massage, breathing techniques, reflexology and aromatherapy, making for legs like jelly when it was time to leave! Thankfully it was only a one-minute shuffle to my room where I had a glass of champagne and an open fire waiting – magnificent stuff.
I definitely recommend a trip to Mollies Boutique Hotel when you’re in Auckland, and for those of us who live here, it’s the perfect spot for a Staycation at any time of year. And next time you’re shopping around for a spa then definitely add Sanctuary Day Spa to your list – with therapists like Sharon and a lineup of beauty partners like Dermalogica, St Tropez, Bella Vi makeup and Tisserand massage oils on board you definitely won’t be disappointed.

*Mollies Winter Spa Escape Package for two people includes Suite style accommodation for one night, a five course degustation dinner with matching wines for two, a one hour Tandem Massage, Gourmet breakfast for two served either in the privacy of your suite or on the terrace and a complimentary late checkout of 12pm. Costing $1000.00 + GST for two, the offer is valid until 31st August 2011 and is available to NZ and Australian Residents only - proof of residency will be required on check-in. Email reservations@mollies.co.nz or +64-9-376 3489 to book.

How to: classic Eva Green in Casino Royale


I love a good Bond movie – I’ve been seeing them religiously since I was six and my dad sneaked me into one at our local movie theatre – and always love a Bond girl’s style. Totally saucy and just a little bit dangerous too, they always seem to have the best hair and makeup – as well as the best lines!
One of my favourite Bond girl makeup looks was that sported by the porcelain-skinned Eva Green as Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, which was totally classic and very wearable. Reportedly, Eva's love of dark, smoky eye make-up and red lipstick influenced much of the look of the character Vesper Lynd, but she was persuaded to warm her skin tone a little so she didn't look too vampy. Her looks throughout the movie ranged from natural and slightly vulnerable to sophisticated and mysterious, but my favourite must be her sexy evening look, seen here. To recreate this you need remarkably few products, and the official list of what you need is:
Foundation: Visiora MV Creme Face Makeup in #002
Concealer: Kryolan Dermacolor Camouflage Cream
Powder: M.A.C Blot Powder / Pressed in Medium
Blush: M.A.C Powder Blush in Frankly Scarlet
Eye Shadow: M.A.C Eye Shadow in Knight Devine
Eye Liner M.A.C Fluidline in Blacktrack
Mascara: Lancôme L'Extreme in Black
Lips: M.A.C Lip Pencil in Brick and M.A.C. Lipstick in Russian Red
Nails: Christian Dior Addict Vernis in Rose Ellipse

Daily delight: Kate Moss for Vogue Brasil

Friday, June 24, 2011

Try it: new additions to Trilogy’s Age Proof arsenal


New Zealand skincare brand Trilogy has gone ahead in leaps and bounds over the last few years, creating not just all-natural product offerings but also taking the anti-ageing category by storm with their Age Proof range.
They recently unveiled two new star performers to the high performance line up: Age Proof Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream and Age Proof CoQ10 Eye Recovery Concentrate. Both are definitely in the eco luxe camp, harnessing the power of breakthrough natural ingredients to fight the ageing battle.
The Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream is a super luxurious formula to use, which is a bonus for dehydrated skins and perfect for the cooler months. The silky, mousse-like formulation gently cleanses your skin and polishes skin-dulling impurities along the way, keeping your complexion fresh and damn near sparkling thanks to the work of powerful fruit enzymes from Papaya and Pineapple. These active fruit enzymes gently retexturise and renew skin by polishing away the build up of impurities that dull the skin while reducing the appearance of wrinkles and uneven pigmentation. The addition of pure plant oils helps to nourish, soothe and leave skin perfectly prepped for maximum serum and cream absorption.
The other new goodie in the Age Proof arsenal is CoQ10 Eye Recovery Concentrate (pictured), which is a small but mighty product that comes with its own massaging roll-on applicator. Packed with a powerful cocktail of antioxidant-rich botanical extracts to instantly refresh and lift the delicate skin around the eye contour area, this eye serum is a real beauty to use. The gently massaging applicator helps to stimulate circulation while specifically chosen lightening, brightening and tightening botanical extracts work their age proofing wonders. These include Co-enzyme Q10 to protect against photoageing by strengthening and revitalising skin cells, caffeine from Green Coffee to tighten and decrease puffiness, Jojoba Esters which help reduce periocular fine lines and increase skin firmness and Horse Chestnut to assist in reducing the appearance of dark circles.
And amazingly for products of this calibre, they both come in at under $45.00.

Daily delight: Claudia Schiffer for Chanel

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Try it: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips liners


One of the biggest names on the beauty block in the US, Physicians Formula is one of those brands that really listen to what women need, and deliver. They seem to anticipate the gap in your kit before you even know it’s there, and are ridiculously well priced for a “masstige” company.
They make some truly great eye products, the latest release being the newest addition to their Shimmer Strips line. The all new, all fabulous Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel CreamLiners are three perfect stackable pots of complementary colour to illuminate and enhance your eyes according to their shade. Available in Blue Eyes, Green Eyes (pictured) and Brown Eyes, each trio features a black shade for dramatic definition plus two perfectly coordinated pearlescent shades to accentuate natural eye colour. Three individual pots of colour means three times the colour and three times the custom possibilities, and make these the perfect product to carry in your handbag or your carry on when you’re en route to some exotic locale.
Each pot of colour makes it easy to create a custom look with the definition and intensity desired, from natural to playful to dramatic. For an all-day natural look, apply a thin line of the most subtle shade across the lash line of your upper lid. For a little more impact, create a thick or thin line of the brightest shade. And for dramatic, high-wattage glamour, apply a thick line of the black shade. Or, have a play and layer shades together for endless looks. The high performance quick drying cream formula glides on super effortlessly too, making them incredibly user friendly. Oh and did I mention that they are a 24-hour formula that is water-resistant and smudge-proof? Brilliant stuff. Each trio also comes with a Pro-Eyeliner Brush for precise application.
Last but not least, they are free of parabens and fragrance, making them safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers like me. Love it.

Love: MOR Emporium Collection hand cream in Tonka Bean Musk


If you want a hand cream that smells so good you literally want to eat it, you can’t get much better than MOR’s beautiful Tonka Bean Musk Hand Cream from the fabulously luxe Black Emporium Collection.
I’ve been known to obsess over this brand, who really do turn out some divine products that become firm favourites due to their exotic and intelligent scents and rich formulations. It’s also a great brand for gifting, and I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t love finding a little piece of MOR in their birthday SWAG.
The Emporium Collection is made up of what MOR likes to call “visual and sensual delicacies that seductively encourage small indulgences in everyday life”, which sounds just fine by me. These treats include hand wrapped Triple-Milled Soaps, rich creamy Body Butters, aromatic soy Candles and opulent Hand Creams in an alluring library of unique, warm fragrances.
Tonka Bean Musk is definitely my latest favourite, and includes Bergamot, Jasmine and Lily of the Valley as well as the heady scent of its namesakes. It’s rich but easily absorbed – a bonus when you like to keep a tube next to your keyboard like I do – and utilises the goodness of shea and cocoa butters, sesame oil and glycerin to keep your paws hydrated and happy. It’s also pleasantly free of parabens, mineral oil and synthetic dyes, and is not tested on animals. Grab a tube now for happy hands all winter long!

Daily delight: Kristen McMenamy for Gaultier

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Love: Ecoya’s beautiful Body Nourisher


I’m a huge fan of the Ecoya brand, and was super excited when I heard they had branched into the realm of bodycare. I’ve tried a few of the products over the past month or so, and have to admit that they are all so good that it’s hard to pick a favourite!
I recently cracked into a jar of their Lemongrass & Ginger Body Nourisher however, and fell immediately under its spell. The best body butter-style, thick cream I’ve tried in a damn good while, it really is the perfect consistency with the most delicate of fragrances. Suitable for all skin types, it is highly nourishing and healing, and the rich yet super fast absorbing formula includes Sweet Almond oil - which absorbs easily - and serves as a great emollient for the skin. Unlike water-based moisturisers it also includes Jojoba Seed oil, which reduces evaporation and due to its similarity to skin’s own natural oil, helps balance oil production. The addition of Macadamia Nut Oil and Manuka honey – two proven ingredients for the skin – make this an absolute godsend for parched winter skin, and despite being incredibly luxurious, the cream leaves no greasy after feel.
On the green tip, it is free from unwanted ingredients like Parabens, Sulfates, Propylene Glycol, Silicone and Artificial colour, making it as eco-luxe as it gets. It’s the perfect complement to their exfoliating cream, and a new must-have in my bathroom cabinet. I’ve heard that Ecoya’s Vanilla Bean Body Nourisher recently won “Best New Product” at the 2011 New York Gift Fair, and as a huge fan of the scent I am now desperate to get my hands on one so I can get a whiff of my favourite candle all day long!

All Good Hair: De Lorenzo’s Elements collection


I love the fact that Australian all-good haircare company De Lorenzo has always had an ethical approach to looking after your locks. Their mission has always been to provide professional salons with the best quality, natural based haircare, manufactured in an environmentally responsible way, and they use certified organic ingredients that are sustainably farmed 
and wild-harvested wherever possible. They also strongly oppose animal testing, are CFF listed and don't use ingredients of animal origin, which gets a major tick in my books.
As well as sticking to all of this good stuff, they make some seriously great products, the latest being the Elements collection of high performance styling formulas. The collection has been inspired by four natural elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. It utilises New Generation Polymers with "Elemental Shape Memory" - a new standard in hair fixative performance – and offers superior humidity resistance and frizz control while leaving the hair with a shiny healthy finish. This is a huge bonus in humid climes like we get Down Under, when typically hair tends to become frizzy when subjected to high humidity. However, when hair is coated with The New Generation Polymers there is an increased resistance to moisture absorption, resulting in less frizziness. Bam!
While offering excellent initial styling, strong hold products can feel stiff, raspy or crunchy to the touch, and don't allow natural movement into the hair. The hair-to-hair bonds made with this type of product tend to be brittle, and vigorous movement will cause bonds to break. As a result, styles lose shape and require re-styling or a touch-up to maintain a fresh look over the course of a day. The keys to the performance of this new technology are the characteristics of the film that is created when New Generation Polymers are applied to hair creating Elemental Shape Memory. The products provide multifunctional benefits stylists can use to impart style control, hold and to enhance the texture, shine, body, curl, straightness, protection, and condition of the hair. Oh, and the packaging is pretty slick too!
On the green tip, De Lorenzo respect and appreciate the growers and producers of natural ingredients for their hard work and high standards. The quality and excellence of the Certified Organic products they use is unsurpassed and De Lorenzo endeavours to choose them whenever possible. They say that traceability and ethical sourcing are hot topics for their customers, and so this allows them to offer not only products sourced from an ethical supply chain but also a range of exotic plants and fruits from the “Australian Outback.”
Oh and last but not least, the Elements range also contains a mild preservation system, ideal for people with sensitive skin and or scalps.
Available from selected salons nationwide, cal 0800 652 570 for a stockist near you!

Daily delight: the fresh, sunny red lip

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I try: A Perfect Day treatment at Chuan Spa


I need absolutely no excuse to visit Chuan Spa at Auckland’s Langham Hotel, a veritable oasis in the inner city that never fails to make me smile. It also usually leaves me with a bright new outlook as well as some seriously great skin, and I always make sure that I arrive early to experience their Tr-bathing ritual, which makes things even that more gorgeous.
The reason for my visit one rainy Auckland afternoon was to experience their A Perfect Day promotion, which starts – or ends with - a Langham Signature Champagne Afternoon tea followed or preceded by a Natura Bisse Diamond Magnetic Body Ritual (a blissful 90 minutes long).
After tucking into some seriously beautiful wee cakes and savouries in The Winery I hopped in the lift to travel up to Chuan in time for the Tri-bathing Ritual. This is a complimentary ritual that simultaneously relaxes and stimulates the body. Begin with an aromatic steam, followed by a sauna to soothe tight muscles. As an interlude, splash on cooling ice and round off the ritual with a soak in the Jacuzzi or swimming pool, preparing you perfectly for your treatment.
Then it was robe on to meet with my therapist Minaxie, who ushered me into the beautiful spa suite where my treatment would be taking place. I’ve experienced a Natura Bisse Diamond Facial before, and have to say that everything that the Spanish skincare company create is seriously luxe. The treatment I’m about to receive is so far into the fabulosity zone that Beyonce has sung about it, and it’s rumoured to be her pre-red carpet experience of choice as it leaves the body delicately shimmering with diamond dust.
Minaxie begins by placing gemstones on my body before it is exfoliated top to toe with a mixture that includes ground diamonds. This takes a while and is incredibly soothing, before the coarser particles are removed using a magnet. This is pretty amazing to watch, so take a peek if you can! Next up she administered a seriously amazing massage to both relax and stretch the muscle tissue all over my body, using Natura Bisse’s seriously luxurious Diamond Body Cream (a pot can be yours to take home for $620.00). If you are looking for the ultimate anti-ageing body cream to get your skin in amazing condition, then treat yourself to this stellar pot of goodness that combines firming results with an intensive moisturising action. This luxurious body cream restructures and redensifies the skin, enhances firmness and elasticity, while protecting against dryness and loss of moisture. It is also really easy to use – apply daily all over the body, focusing on dry areas (legs, elbows and knees) or on skin lacking elasticity and firmness. This product has the most divine fragrance too, and the most subtle of shimmers.
By treatment’s end I am a jelly-like mess, feeling absolutely outstanding and – as always – pretty damn reluctant to leave this heavenly spot. But leave I must, and after a juice and a pot of the signature tea for that day (based on the elements) I’m off back into the traffic, drizzle and greyness of the early evening. But return I will, don’t you worry about that!

* A Perfect Day costs $390.00 per person and includes a Natura Bisse Diamond Body treatment (90 minutes) and Langham Signature Champagne Afternoon tea - to be enjoyed on the same day - pre or post treatment. It’s available Monday - Wednesday only until 31 July, 2011 and complimentary valet parking is available to all Spa Guests with a minimum of a 1 hour treatment subject to availability. And do ensure you bring your swimming togs if you wish to use the tri-bathing facilities.

Daily delight: Saskia de Brauw for Versace

Monday, June 20, 2011

I try: BECCA's Sheer Tint Lip Colour


I’m a huge fan of lipstick rather than gloss, and make no secret of the fact that I think a creamy-yet-matte lip knocks the socks off a gooey, glossy mouth any day. I’m always searching for great sheer lipsticks though as a daytime/weekend option, as even for me there are times when a bright red lip is a little uncalled for – walking the dog, playtime in the park with my son for example!
I’ve recently fallen in love with a collection by the always-fantastic BECCA known as Sheer Tint Lip Colour lipsticks, which offer sheer, hydrating colour with a touch of subtle shine, in a range of nude colours especially selected to flatter all skin tones. Deliciously scented with a natural light vanilla/caramel scent, they are infused with a moisturizing formula containing Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Honey and other essential fatty acids with natural anti-oxidants to leave lips soft, moisturized and protected. The perfect choice for a winter’s day, they apply super easily for a wash of fresh-looking, creamy and super flattering colour. Anti-feathering and anti-bleeding, they are also paraben free, which gets a big tick from me. Design-wise, the sleek and sexy metal case is perfect for travel – the lid twists and locks to prevent in-handbag, in-flight disasters.
You can apply it directly to your lips from the tube or paint it on using BECCA Lip Brush #20 for long-lasting wear. A nude liner applied beforehand will take things that much further, and if you really must get all shiny on me then slick on some BECCA Glossy Lip Tint over the top.
The colour I’ve been sporting is Vendela - a beautifully neutral rosy nude – and I defy you not to find a favourite amongst the ten super wearable shades.

Lady GaGa for M.A.C – get the look


“The celestial chameleon: one of the many guises that epitomize Lady Gaga.” - Val Garland
This image from an advertisement for M.A.C’s Viva Glam Gaga 2 campaign is definitely one of my favourite shots of the singer, and the makeup is to die for. The look was created by the legendary Val Garland, and I recently saw a rundown of the products she used which I thought I’d share. In my opinion it’s the perfect ultra glam interpretation of the nude trend, and one I’d definitely try myself. So, the official low down on what Val used is:

Powder:
M.A.C Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder on T-zone
Blush:
M.A.C Pro Cream Color Base in Nude on cheekbones
Contouring:
M.A.C Pro Paint Stick in Deep Brown for contour, buffed in just under the cheekbones, into the hollows and used on the temples. M.A.C Creme Color Base in Shell and Luna blended and applied as highlighter
Eye Shadow:
Upper lid: M.A.C Eye Shadow in Malt and M.A.C Impeccable Brow Pencil in Taupe on lid and into socket line, M.A.C Pigment in Vanilla on the inner corner. Lower lid: M.A.C Impeccable Brow Pencil in Taupe, set with M.A.C. Eye Shadow in Charcoal Brown
Eyeliner:
M.A.C Fluidline in Blacktrack brushed into the top lash line, followed by M.A.C Penultimate Eye Liner to enhance and elongate the line. Finally, M.A.C Eye Shadow in Carbon set and strengthened the line for a velvet finish. M.A.C Eye Kohl in Fascinating inside lower and upper rims of eyes
Mascara:
M.A.C Opulash Mascara in Bad, Bad Black and M.A.C Plush Lash Mascara in Plushblack applied with small fan brush
Lashes:
M.A.C 3 Lash and the outer half of M.A.C 41 Lash on the outer corner of the eye
Lips:
M.A.C Lip Pencil in Oak on the lip line and M.A.C Viva Glam Gaga Lipstick in 2; M.A.C Viva Glam Gaga Lipglass in 2 over the top in the centre of the lip for volume

Daily delight: Natasha Poly by Boo George

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A love affair: me and my scented candles


It’s a stormy, cold day as I type, but the addition of a Cire Trudon candle – Ernesto, to be exact – burning in lounge makes a long Sunday afternoon indoors that much brighter. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I have a veritable fetish for scented candles, and they are the perfect accompaniment to winter days and nights spent indoors. I have a “wardrobe” of candles that I like to choose from, dependant on mood and time of day, and am constantly on the hunt for new additions when I’m walking Ponsonby Road.
WORLDbeauty stocks one of my absolute favourite ranges, the aforementioned Cire Trudon collection. France’s oldest manufacturer of candles – they were burned by Napoleon and Marie Antoinette – Cire Trudon candles are crafted using the highest quality vegetable wax poured into beautiful handmade glass, making them biodegradable, allergen free and free of pesticides as far back as 1643! They also have an incredible 80-hour burn time, and come in a variety of alluring scents. I’ve been a raving fan of their ‘Ernesto’ candle for some time now, inspired by the famous Cuban revolutionary of the same name. According to the accompanying paraphernalia (which is gorgeous too, by the way) it’s inspired by the following scene: “…In a hotel of Havana, sizzling under the stubborn sun of the Revolution, fierce overtones of leather and tobacco meddle with resolution the waxy silence of wood. Breaking out of the cool dimness, sly grimaces emerge, framed by the smoke of cigars and the barrels of guns….” In a word: DELICIOUS.
Down the road at Superette you can pick up Archipelago soy candles, with top sellers like Sweet Pea, Peony, Paper White and Jasmine just begging to be lit in a room near you. The newest addition to the range is the delicate Honeysuckle, which is perfect for any time of the year if you’re a fan of florals.
Mecca Cosmetica is where you’ll find the internationally celebrated Diptyque range from Paris, another HUGE favourite of mine. Diptyque candles have become amongst the most coveted in the world, whilst their fragrances are modern-day cult classics. Each fragrance expresses a moment, an exquisite place: a field in Provence in summer, a warm evening with the family at home, a garden in full bloom … there is definitely a scent for everyone. Mecca also have US company Anthousa’s candles in store - an in-house essential of the famous and the fashionable, from Hollywood to the Hamptons – and a selection from Malibu’s Kai, which was inspired by childhood holidays in Hawaii.
Last up you can’t go past the line up of beautiful candles from Ecoya at Redcurrent, which are affordable, eco luxe at its finest. My favourite is Vanilla Bean – warm, dense and almost good enough to eat! Vanilla is constantly at the top of the list when it comes to the world’s most popular fragrances with good reason. In 1991, the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York tested the effects of five fragrances on 85 patients undergoing an MRI scan. Of the fragrances tested, a vanilla-like aroma, heliotropin, was rated the most relaxing. Patients exposed to the heliotropin reported 63 per cent less anxiety and claustrophobia than those were not exposed to fragrance. The study prompted Sloan-Kettering to include vanilla fragrances as a standard part of an MRI!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Try it: Dermalogica UltraCalming Redness Relief SPF20


For the past couple of winters I’ve been a regular user of Dermalogica’s Barrier Repair to save my often-sensitive skin from the full on assault that the season’s wind, cold and air conditioning bring with them. It’s been an absolute winner when layered lightly over my usual moisturiser, and even kept me from getting “ruddy” looking when I was rising at the ungodly hour of 5:45 am for a Boot Camp in the local park.
Last year the well-respected global skincare brand launched their UltraCalming range especially for sensitive skin, giving the increasing number of women who identify with this problem some relief after years of trialling products and caking on the foundation in the hope of masking the problem. Barrier Repair became a part of the pack, along with the likes of a new super gentle, effective cleanser and a beautiful spray that worked wonders on my skin after more than a few long haul flights a few months ago.
The latest addition to the collection of soothing products is UltraCalming Redness Relief SPF20, which must be the best multi-tasker to have hit my desk in the last few months. A three-in-one SPF moisturiser, it has been developed to neutralize, relieve, and defend against inflammation and redness induced by skin sensitivity and rosacea. Natural earth minerals provide a sheer green tint to actively counter telltale redness, while soothing extracts calm inflamed, irritated skin in need of a little TLC. Sunscreens, Vitamin E and phytoactive anti-irritant agents then provide critical defense against UV rays and help to control severity of daily flare-ups and long-term damage caused by the elements. Oh, and it contains no artificial fragrance or colour, two things that can trigger or exacerbate sensitivity in some people. This redness-reducing product also makes an amazing make-up primer for any skin type, but is not recommended for anyone allergic to chemical sunscreens.
Feeling sensitive this winter? Get thee to your nearest Dermalogica stockist now!

For the boys: Penhaligon’s at Crane Brothers


I don’t mention men’s fragrances much on my blog, but I love a good one and am always super impressed with a man who wears something out of the ordinary rather than the generic beauty counter-style scents out there. It’s a crime that almost every big name women’s fragrance out there smells pretty much identical, but often the boys’ ones are even duller.
So, it’s time to break out of that rut! And it’s exciting that over 135 years after the doors of the Penhaligon’s barber shop first opened on London’s Jermyn Street, a selection of their top eight men’s fragrances will be arriving in New Zealand. Stocked exclusively at Crane Brothers – a first for the store – they have been selected by Murray Crane for “the man who has a respect for tradition and heritage.” Crane believes that there is a real synergy between the Penhaligon’s brand and Crane Brothers saying, “Penhaligon’s is a boutique brand that needs to sit in a specialised environment. It has a great heritage and appeals to a discerning gentleman. It is classic but not afraid of being seen as a contemporary brand, and ultimately, this is how we see our own brand.”
Penhaligon’s was founded by William Penhaligon, an Englishman living in an age of excess who was witty, wildly creative and always inspired by the unusual. Many years later his legacy continues, with master perfumers working to interpret the brand’s distinctive ideas, in essence “conjuring up new perfume sensations that flow against the tide”. Crane believes that this desire to be different will be embraced by his customer, “the man who isn’t afraid to make his own decisions when it comes to style, and doesn’t wish to smell like everybody else.” Now that’s the man I’m talking about!
Penhaligon’s scents are still made in England using the finest rare ingredients – from hand-squeezed bergamot, to jasmine at twice the price of gold. Their signature Penhaligon’s fragrance bottle is also still to William’s original design: clear glass with a distinctive ribbon-wrapped stopper, an essential addition to the top of any discerning gentleman’s dresser. It’s the fragrance choice of the sartorially inclined sir and discerning eccentric out there, and if you’re lucky enough you’ll have one of those in your life that will be into this for sure.
Examples of what is now on offer at Crane Brothers include the best-selling Blenheim Bouquet. At its launch in 1902, this was a brave new direction. Citrus based, it opposed the rich, heavy florals that were feted at the time. Taking its name from Blenheim Palace - the seat of one of England’s most respected bloodlines – the fragrance is discreet, sensual and immaculately turned out with a flash of heritage flourish.
Another standout is Sartorial, a contemporary interpretation of a classic Fougère that has been designed to create the perfect illusion of a tailor’s workroom. The modern thread running through Sartorial is beeswax; echoing the blocks of wax each thread is run across before stitching. This ties together the more traditional elements; the oiled flash of shears cutting cloth, the rub of fabric beneath fingers, tobacco tinted cabinetry, puffs of chalk in the air and old paper patterns vanilla with age.

Daily delight: Emma Watson for US Vogue

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Inside knowledge: talking with Rae Morris


They’re the people that see first hand the effects of a week of shows on a fresh-faced model’s skin, the ones who witness celebrities unmasked and midway through an extremely bad hair day. They are the experts, and they are privy to the kind of beauty information that can make or break a look on the runway or the high street.
Makeup artist Rae Morris(pictured) is a leader amongst the above, and also more than happy to share her insider secrets. The author of several books revealing the tricks behind her craft – the latest of which is the beautiful Express Makeup featuring scores of gorgeous photos by Stephen Chee –artist Rae has worked with some of the world’s leading photographers and on virtually any covetable title you can name and I was very excited to have ten minutes with her.

How would you best describe what you do?
I paint beautiful and interesting faces all day long.

What has been your most memorable job, and why?
Working with Pink on personal appearances would definitely be up there – mainly because she was so amazing and we got on like a house on fire. She was so into what I did as a make up artist and really respected what I had to say. She even played me songs and asked my opinion of them, it was so memorable.

You work with skin every day. What is the one product you can’t work without, the one that is magic on any job?
My obsession is with great brushes, so much so that I have just created my own line. A great brush can change your life and make even the most unsuitable of products work that much better, and a fantastic foundation brush will make any woman look flawless. Another pick is eyelash applicators, which are a clever little product that Shu Uemura makes. I can’t live without them!

Where are you based?
I’m in Sydney now and have agents in New York and Paris.

What can you tell us about the beauty habits of the average girl you meet that are particular to that city?
Good habits or bad habits? There are lots of either! It really depends where you live, but Sydney women generally love the beach and looking healthy and feeling healthy. There is a lot of “less is more” going on, and there are a lot of glowy cheeks and lips. Melbourne women are a lot more about make up, whereas Sydney girls pair a barely there look with a killer handbag.

What in your opinion is the hottest beauty look ever?
A great, full and strong brow. I can tell what era a woman is from just by looking at her eyebrows. I personally don’t think that thin or overarched brows will ever come back after seeing a resurgence of strong brows over the past couple of years, they are just such a great accessory.

You work with other make up artists and hair stylists on a very regular basis - do you take cues from them and share knowledge?
Totally, especially stylists whose art I appreciate so much as they just immerse themselves so fully in fashion and always know what’s going on. They know so much about trends, as do hair stylists who are always at the cutting edge of what’s happening when you get to the top level.

What is the best tip you've been given?
“A good makeup artist knows when to put the brush down!” from the amazing Richard Sharah.

What is the standout feature in every job you do - your 'signature' as it were?
I love playing with different textures of skin – creating a matte skin, a luminous skin. You can do the same eye but on a variety of canvases and see so many different looks emerge.

What is your desert island product, the one you personally can't live without?
Sunscreen and Tweezers. Anything that’s below the eye needs to go!

And lastly, what makes a woman beautiful?
When a woman is game enough to make a statement and go outside the norm, I just find her so beautiful. Even someone like Alannah Hill or lately, Lady Gaga who is that little bit more over the top than the rest of us when it comes to make up. There is just so much beauty in their confidence.

Daily delight: Karen Elson for Zoo mag

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

You need: Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion


The skincare range that many a major celebrity relies on rely to stay fresh-faced and fabulous is Mario Badescu, and with good reason. Available in New Zealand as part of the beautifully edited collection at Glamorpuss in Auckland's Newmarket, it is based on soothing botanicals, essential vitamin oils and fruit extracts and is full of solutions for all manner of skin freakouts.
The Mario Badescu story began when the Romanian skincare guru opened his now legendary Salon in New York in 1967, bringing his vast knowledge of Old World skin care techniques to an appreciative new audience who just lapped it up. His sophisticated approach to skincare quickly gained him a loyal following and requests for his products for use at home led to the development of the Mario Badescu line of premium products. The range is still based on the ingredients that Mario Badescu originally sourced from his kitchen pantry like milk, honey, almonds, chamomile, and caviar. These natural ingredients are enhanced by advanced technology to create products that work together to gently cleanse, rejuvenate and protect the skin. His salon on Manhattan’s East Side remains the spa of choice for savvy New Yorkers and big names that are passing through town, and it’s definitely on the “must visit” list for beauty heads all over the world.
His skincare collection is seriously vast, but probably his best-known offering is his cult favourite, Drying Lotion (pictured left). Up there with the beauty world’s best selling – and most effective – pimple healers, it is a spot treatment made with a blend of Calamine and Salicylic Acid to clear up and soothe unsightly white-head blemishes overnight. A dab of this lotion will heal and dry pimples while you sleep, and is an essential in any bathroom cabinet because hey, even the most diligent amongst us gets a zit as some time! Suitable for all skin types, a bottle of this magic potion is a steal for just NZD $55.00.

Daily delight: Beyonce for Dazed & Confused

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Love: Sodashi Plant Essence Replenish Mask


The cooler temperatures over my side of the world have a tendency to pull my skin tighter than a drum, so I’m always on the lookout for ultra nourishing add-ons that can help me last the distance til spring. Dry skin can be sensitized skin as well, so the gentler a product is the better when it comes to keeping my skin looking fresh and dewy whilst battling the wind and cold.
At the moment I am all about Sodashi’s Plant Essence Replenish Mask, which is a deliciously luxe, deeply nourishing and moisturizing face mask rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant nutrients and as natural as it gets. Ingredients like Gotu kola and Neroli stimulate production of collagen to help with ageing, while Ginkgo Biloba provides a stimulating boost to skin circulation. Add an herbal infusion of St John’s Wort and chamomile to nourish and soothe and you have a truly magical formula.
Having used it for the past few weeks I can honestly say that this deeply nourishing and moisturising treatment mask really is food for the skin. It instantly replenishes tired, dry, dehydrated and mature skin, and Sodashi creator Megan Larsen has said that it is also fantastic for any pigmentation/age spots. Use it twice weekly after cleansing and exfoliating for the besr result. Simply apply liberally to the face and neck, avoiding the eye area and leave on for 10 – 20 minutes depending on your skin’s needs. Remove with a warm, damp face cloth (or in my case, a clean muslin cloth) and follow with your favourite moisturiser. Delicious.

Want it: brand new Tom Ford Beauty


His collection of high-pigment lipsticks proved a huge commercial success, and despite their higher-than-average price tag sold out all over the world. Now Tom Ford has announced that he is to expand his beauty offering to include a full range of cosmetics and skincare, which is hugely exciting news for fans of the man like me. The line, which will hit Northern Hemisphere stores in September, takes its inspiration from the Seventies, with a back-to-basics approach to bold colour and some seriously luxe packaging.
The designer, 49, unveiled the range last week, along with a campaign in which he co-stars with supermodel Lara Stone.
“My intention was to do colour cosmetics out of the gate, but not everyone else was convinced that I had a voice in colour until the lipsticks started selling out again and again,” he revealed to the press. How wrong were they!
He added that a practical approach, leaning on his years as an architecture student, formed the basis of the collection. “I don’t like B.S. and a lot of promises, and there are a lot of products out there you don’t even need,” he told the lucky few at the big reveal. “You need to understand the face and compensate for the architecture of the face. A nice thick brow is the key to a youthful look.”
He created the range with top British make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury, and has also developed a skincare line, which includes a serum, primer and cleanser. I predict that this will fly off the shelves the minute it touches down, and will continue to do so for many years to come.
I’m absolutely head over heels in love with the ad campaign too, which features Lara and the handsome Texan designer, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott instead of by Ford or Terry Richardson as the designer's campaigns have been in the past.

Daily delight: Lara Stone, Tom Ford Beauty

Monday, June 13, 2011

Try it: Goldwell Just Smooth Styling Milk


Since I’ve cut my hair off to a long bob (no, I refuse to say “lob”) length and returned to brunette, I’ve had to re-think the hair products I use accordingly. No longer do I have the need for rich, heavy shampoos and leave-in conditioners, and I’ve even started to go easy on the argan oil-based products, applying them just a couple of times a week.
I still like to use a styling product or two though, and have fallen in love with a gentle little goodie from Goldwell’s StyleSign range called Just Smooth. A moisturizing styling milk for a naturally smooth, shiny look, it essentially tames flyaway hair without weighing it down and helps reduce breakage. As an added bonus, it also provides heat and colour protection. So many claims in one product, and the big question is: does it work? Actually, yes… and very well, thank you! It’s great when you just want to leave your hair to its own natural devices, and is super easy to use.
Just spray it evenly onto towel-dried hair and then use a wide toothed comb to detangle if you need. Easy as, natural movement without any heaviness or a greasy after feel. Love it!

Daily delight: backstage beauty Natasha P.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Try it: Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara


I love mascara and the power a great wand can wield over your eyes, and have a veritable of wardrobe of them to choose from depending on what look I want to achieve. I have to confess that not many of them are of the “natural look” variety as I love a false lash and really layering it on, mainly due to the fact that I wore glasses every day for around thirty years and a pumped up lash was never an option for me. Now I’m able to wear contacts I do go a little crazy at times, but hey – humour me!
But enough about me already, and on to talking about a super cool new mascara that just came across my desk courtesy of Smashbox. Inspired by the on-set technique of layering a lengthening fibre mascara over a volumizing formula, their new studio-tested mascara – which goes by the name Full Exposure – quite literally exposes your longest, fullest lashes. The very clever formula reportedly creates an amazing 104 per cent increase in lash length and 32 per cent increase in lash volume for scene stealing lashes at every angle without smudging, clumping, or flaking. Essentially, it’s maximum impact with minimal fallout, and is refreshingly paraben free. Also good for your lashes, the formula contains the natural properties of olive oil to keep lashes silky soft. A combination of synthetic and natural waxes creates softer and flexible coverage and keeps lashes from becoming brittle, which can be the result of constant mascara use (and removal in particular).
For best results start applying it at the base of lashes, sweeping the wand up and out. Apply a second coat for added fullness and length and remember: when layering more than one coat, don't let the product dry completely. Build mascara while the product is still slightly damp and then comb through with a clean eyelash comb if you get any clumps. Voila! Magnificent lashes.

Daily delight: Cara Delevingne for Burberry

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Love: Dr. Hauschka’s Regenerating Body Moisturiser


It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Dr. Hauschka skincare, and I’ve been using a couple of amazing products from their popular, high performing Regenerating skincare range for some time now. One is the Regenerating Eye Cream and the other the incredible Regenerating Serum, which is taking care of my neck and décolleté now I’ve used up my precious tube of Regenerating Neck & Décolleté Cream. Told you I was a fan!
So it was with a super-sized bucket of excitement that I greeted news of the release of their new Regenerating Body Moisturiser, which means that they now have mature skin covered from head to toe. An exquisite formula to use, it utilises specially chosen extracts of antioxidant medicinal herbs to revitalise and protect the skin, while creating a more toned appearance. Silica-rich field horsetail supports and firms skin, and the combination of marshmallow and birch help to regulate the skin’s moisture content and keep it feeling plump and healthy. Fine essential oils enhance the feeling of increased suppleness, smoothness and firmness, while your senses are delicately pampered with an enveloping fragrance of roses and oranges with a base note of velvety wood and vanilla.
This beautiful body lotion really is a joy to use and an instant favourite in my bathroom. The natural ingredients firm the connective tissue and refine the structure of the skin, resulting in entirely new skin feeling smooth and silky and looking noticeably firmer, smoother and suppler. And it’s even designed with sensitive skin like mine in mind, keeping my eczema well at bay. Love it!
To locate your nearest stockist visit Dr.Hauschka’s website here or call toll free 0508 423 737.

Daily delight: Daria, Arlenis & Elettra again

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hair, now: trends straight from the experts


A freshly minted new season is a great excuse to overhaul your hair, and for many of us the perfect time to chop off those locks damaged over the summer months. Your hair stylist is the perfect person to talk to about what’s best for your crowning glory, and usually one step ahead of the pack when it comes to translating trends coming straight off the runway that you think may work for you.
Stephen Marr’s Leigh Keepa (above) has spent the majority of his career working in Europe, on the floor at some of London’s best salons and backstage at the likes of London and Paris Fashion Weeks. Let’s just say that he’s a man that knows his stuff when it comes to staying a few steps ahead of the style Eight Ball, and is affable enough to share it with his clients on a rather regular basis. He says that when it comes to winter locks, “first and foremost we want shiny, healthy hair and styles that showcase this. For starters I would recommend using Nourishing Hair Hydratant Ultra+ from the very intelligent and sustainably conscious SANS collection of hair and bodycare products.” A rich and luxurious crème conditioner-slash-mask, it delivers slip, shine and intense hydration to even the most damaged hair and is a bit of wonder product in my humble opinion. With four times as many beneficial ingredients as most nourishing conditioners, Hydratant Ultra+ is also crammed full of lipids, baobab polysaccharides and hibiscus extract for extra gloss and super shine. When it comes to colour, Leigh says that hair is “getting richer and warmer, think chocolate or autumnal maple leaf tones”, with lots of natural-looking highlights to keep things interesting. Cut-wise, “with longer hair there’s a nod to the Seventies happening, think lots of flowing movement and cute soft flicks. We’re also seeing more graphic shapes in shorter hair that’s reminiscent of Carnaby Street “cool” from the mid-Sixties”, all of which showcases hair that is in great condition.
Danny Pato from d&m hair design in Redmond Street is another man working at the forefront of what’s happening with hair right now, and his key trend pick for colour this winter is a movement away from the popular use of the Balayage technique, or what many call “dip-dyed” hair. “It was the Flavour of the Month for a while,” he says, “but now we see more and more people just wanting glossy, shiny colour that’s one uniform shade of say, super rich chocolate brown or warm copper.” It’s a look that more grown up and ladylike than the Bondi beach babe-esque Balayage, and Pato admits that it’s also a little more high maintenance. “We still keep a shimmer of lightness in there,” he explains, “but it’s not the hard contrast look that Balayage gives and requires a little more upkeep.” He says that he’s been amazed by the amount of women opting to change their hair colour to fiery, strong reds, which many say is the most high maintenance shade of all due to its propensity for fading.
In terms of cuts he says that he’s been loving doing short, pixie-like crops that owe more than a little to the infamous Twiggy in terms of shape and mood, “and my younger clients especially are loving the change to something really different.” He says that the falling temperatures mean that you can switch your haircare products to something a little lighter than the deep conditioning goodies needed over the summer months, “but to keep your colour true make sure that you rinse your hair in slighter cooler water at the end of your shower to close the cuticles down. Hot water opens the hair shaft so colour will fade or split ends happen quicker once your shower starts heating up.”

Daily delight: Robyn Lawley, Vogue Italia

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I try: Spa Ayurda's ultra luxe Gold Facial


The changing seasons – not to mention Auckland’s wildly unpredictable weather patterns – have been playing havoc with my skin, and so it was with great relief that I checked in at Ponsonby Road’s Spa Ayurda recently to give it some tender loving goodness.
Just walking into this temple to wellness is a treat in itself, but arriving there with the promise of the facial awaiting me meant that I was more than ready to snuggle down under a warm duvet and let my therapist Anjana do her work. All Spa Ayurda rituals begin with a personalised skin analysis, after which your experienced therapist will customise the products and touch for your skin’s optimal wellbeing. A questionnaire is used every time you visit to determine where you are sitting in the Ayurvedic universe (it’s also online at www.spaayurda.co.nz), and this time around my usually Pitta skin had moved closer to the Vata realm. This could be put down in part to ageing, as well as the fact that winter has inflicted its cooler air and stronger winds on my sensitive skin. It was definitely in need of a tune up either way, and a Vata-type facial will both nourish and stimulate.
We decided that what I need most is an Ayurda Kanaka facial, which is anti-ageing and counts 24 carat gold as a key ingredient. The healing and restorative properties of gold and silver have been used in Indian medicine for centuries. Spa Ayurda offers both a gold and silver-based facial, the gold targeting clarity and anti-aging and the silver (known for its cooling and healing properties) recommended for problematic skin to tone, purify and build the skin’s natural integrity. 24 carat gold is rejuvenating and readily absorbed by the skin to help increase circulation, reduce fine lines and prevent ageing. It is massaged into the skin to promote cell growth and return its lustre and glow, and is also said to assist lymphatic drainage, improve blood circulation and enhance skin elasticity. Gold is also renowned in skincare circles for accelerating cell renewal, and is touted as an ingredient that can reverse oxidation damage. All in all damn good stuff!
All Ayurda signature facials begin with a warm foot soak, which according to ancient Ayurvedic tradition is a traditional welcome for honoured guests. This beautifully relaxing ritual will prepare you for all of the goodness that you are about to receive, and is pretty much the best way ever to relax in my humble opinion. Next up I lie down and Anjana gives my skin a thorough cleanse with Ayurda’s Hingot Cleanser, which includes lots of yummy stuff like coconut oil, neem and turmeric. Then their signature Oliana oil (which is sesame and almond oil-based) is used to give my skin a stimulating massage, designed both to promote relaxation and prepare the skin for exfoliation. The exfoliating product for my skin type is the Invigoration Scrub, which includes almonds to nourish as it gently sloughs away dead skin. After this is removed I’m given a refreshing spritz of Rose and Basil toner, which feels as good as it smells and is perfect when applied at any time of day.
All of this of course is in preparation for the arrival of the Gold Gel, which has flakes of 24-carat gold and Himalayan cherry suspended in its soothing aloe vera base. This is carefully applied and then massaged into the face, neck and décolletage along with Ayurda’s Skin Rejuvenating Cream for the ultimate in skin nourishing treats.
Finally, a foot, hand and head massage begins to complete my journey to total relaxation and all too soon I realise that my 90 minutes of bliss is up. Do I really have to leave? I’m not ready!
This story first appeared in the fabulous Ponsonby News, which you can read here.

Win: L’Oréal Professionnel for the curly girls


If you’ve got curly hair or have someone in their family who does like me (amazingly given my straight hair, my mum has some serious wave) then you’ll know how high maintenance looking after it really is. There’s always a fine balance to strike between contained and weighed down, as well as keeing control whilst celebrating your natural curl.
Those clever clogs at L’Oréal Professionnel are celebrating the comeback of the curl with new products – série expert curl contour range and texture expert curl corset – designed specifically for wavy and curly hair. The série expert curl contour collection consists of some great products that use a balanced dose of nutrition and definition to reshape curls, maintaining their natural shape and nourishing the hair without weighing it down. Think beautiful bounce and complete control and you’re pretty much there. The good looking range comprises a shampoo (RRP$29.50), a masque (RRP$33.50) and a definition cream (RRP$31.00) to protect curls from frizz. And now that you’re caring for your curls it’s also essential to have the right styling product to keep them in check. This is where the new texture expert curl corset (RRP $41.00) comes in, boosting curls and adding some much needed shine. Like it!
I have two sets containing the full L’Oréal Professionnel série expert curl contour range and texture expert curl corset valued at over $130 each to giveaway. Drop me an email at helene@mshelene.com and you’re in the draw!

Daily delight: Claudia Schiffer, Harpers UK

Monday, June 6, 2011

Try it: Elizabeth Arden’s Makeup Blender


Elizabeth Arden’s Ceramide Ultra Lift and Firm Makeup SPF15 is one of the best on the block for those that love rich foundations with an added anti-ageing boost. A luxurious cream formula powered by Ceramide skincare’s latest Ceramide Plumping Technology, Ceramides and Advanced Moisture Complex to diminish the appearance of fine lines, it creates a luminous finish that lasts all day while providing SPF15 sun protection and locking in moisture to go the distance. For normal to dry skin and available in eight shades, it can now be smoothed on even more seamlessly with Elizabeth Arden’s latest clever little tool, which will be available in store from July 1. Simply called The Makeup Blender, it is designed to fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. It features a uniquely shaped sponge applicator tip, which is perfect for even application and blending in hard to reach areas, and is a must for any kit in my humble opinion. I love a richer foundation in the cooler months and this little baby will keep application smooth and seamless. Perfect.